Young and stressed?

Every one deals with stress — only the degree varies.

More importantly, the manner in which one faces stress also differs. Outcome naturally depends on the way you respond to stress.

It is a scientifically proven fact that adolescence is when humans face the highest level of stress — when a person is least well-equipped to face the same.
Why are teenagers stressed?

Adolescence (10-19 years) is characterised by rapid physical growth, emotional and behavioural changes and sexual maturation. All these changes can produce great stress in an adolescent.

What are the various stressors?

Stressors can be internal or external. Internal stressors include issues like: Are my height and weight normal? Are the bodily changes normal? Am I attractive?

But external stressors can be many. At home, pressure from parents, guardians, and teachers to excel in academics can cause a great deal of stress. Negative parental attitude towards sports, dance, music, and pressure to abide by family rules and social restrictions can cause unnecessary worry too.

Sibling rivalry, conflicts with parents, peer pressure, bullying, a competitive environment add to this.

Pressure of home work, punishments and humiliation can have a perilous effect on a sensitive mind. Children with learning disabilities are at a greater disadvantage.
Violence, romance, and exposure to an unattainable lifestyle (elite), which many cannot afford, adversely affect young minds.

Result of stress

Some amount of stress is useful (Eustress). This usually acts as a stimulus for better performance.

Challenges in life bring about the best in an individual. However,  too much stress is bad. Either the person gives up — freezes or shies away from it all.

Restlessness, fatigue, irritability, inability to concentrate, sleep disturbances impact studies. Palpitation, excessive sweating, poor appetite, loose motion, vague aches and pains result in a feeling of helplessness.

How to manage stress

Parents must spend more time with their children. Quality and quantity, in this case, are equally important.

*Listen to your child speak. Encourage him to discuss problems and try to find a solution.

*Identify his strengths and encourage them.

*A healthy lifestyle should be practised at home so that children pick them up.
nParents must practise what they preach.

*Authoritative parenting with concern for the child, and not a dictatorial one, goes a long way in shaping their future.

At school:

*Students should be inspired to learn.They should not be overburdened with homework.

*All-round development should be the aim.

*Discrimination of any kind must be avoided.

*Physical punishment and humiliation should not be an option for parents and teachers while dealing with unruly behaviour.

Life-skills education

Self awareness, empathy, problem-solving, decision-making, critical thinking, creative thinking, effective communication, inter-personal relationship, coping with stress and emotions — these core skills should be taught in order to equip your children to face the challenges in life better. Encourage them to discuss their problem with anyone they trust. Professional help must be sought when:

*School performance is deteriorating

*Behavioural changes — mood swings, depression, non-communication and aggression is noticed.

Moral support can go a long way when a child’s academic performance is not satisfactory. By doing so, children will learn to face the challenges in life with confidence.

(The writer is a children’s specialist and a hypnotherapist at Apollo Clinic.)

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